After a week of rain, Columbiana (14-6) and West Branch (15-7) battled chilly weather and spotty sunshine en route to a 5-2 West Branch victory Saturday afternoon. In a game that was originally scheduled for a Noon start, was pushed back to a 4 PM start, both teams were happy to get a game in after multiple cancellations throughout the week.
West Branch got on the board early scoring two runs in the first inning without collecting a hit. Riley McElwain accomplished the rare feat of striking out four Warrior batters in an inning but unfortunately the first K reached based and eventually came around to score due to some heads up Warrior baserunning.
West Branch would tack on single runs in the 2nd, 5th and 7th innings to build a five run leading heading into the bottom half on the final frame. Columbiana, however, did not go quietly and mounted a comeback in the 7th. McElwain led off the inning with his second double of the day, moved to third on a wild pitch and would score on a second wild pitch to give Columbiana its first run. Logan Hoschar would then walk followed by a Bayden Pipoly single. Joe Wilczak was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a strikeout and a sacrifice fly by Zachary Pleska, Tyler Andersen would walk to load the bases again with Seth Spooner coming to the plate as the go ahead run. West Branch was up to the task, however, as the Warrior pitcher was able to get Spooner to fly out to deep right field to end the threat.
Columbiana pitchers were strong all day. McElwain (5-2) got the start and pitched three strong innings. He would strike out five while allowing three runs (1 earned) and only one hit. Pleska followed with two innings allowing one run on two hits striking out four. Spooner finished off the final two frames striking out six and allowing one unearned run.
Columbiana will next be in action Monday afternoon as the Clippers welcome the United Eagles to town. A win for Columbiana would guarantee at least a share of the EOAC crown.